August 29, 2010

Brown leaning towards redshirting

MADISON - Zach Brown is the Benjamin Button of the Wisconsin football team. After seemingly peaking during his freshman season, the Florida native has steadily seen his role decline throughout the remainder of his career.

Now, as the 2010 season is set to begin in less than a week, Brown is contemplating using the redshirt option that he still has available to him. With John Clay, Montee Ball and James White ahead of Ball on the depth chart, it looks like that may be the best route for Brown if he wants to see the field during his senior season, whenever that may be.

"He's kind of had some knee things flare up," UW running backs coach John Settle said Sunday afternoon. "With the emergence of James White and Montee Ball maturing and doing some of the things he's doing, he (Brown) may use this opportunity to redshirt and let himself get healed up and come back out with another year to play.

"That's what he's leaning towards."

At this stage, the redshirt has not been finalized but it seems to be in the works.

"He was a guy that once things flared up he missed some time here and there," Settle said. "He got with coach Bret Bielema and kind of presented that. For him I think it's a good thing.

"If there's a bad thing, it's knowing that Montee and James White are going to be back next year."

Clay, for all intents and purposes, will likely leave UW in favor of the NFL should he compile another season like the one he turned in a year ago. But, at the same time, he could still technically return for his senior year.

But for Brown, the decision has been considered even during the summer months. Knowing his role was diminished -he entered fall camp as the third down back - it looked like a long shot for Brown to get back into the every down category with Clay and Ball returning.

Still, with three running backs ahead of him, it seems as though it will be a somewhat light redshirt meaning that should somebody get hurt along the way, the coaching staff could need him in the lineup and thus remove the redshirt.

"I think if we did it we'd have to do it with the understanding that if somebody gets injured early we'll need you," Settle said. "He's in great shape and doing everything and preparing like he's going to play so that won't be a problem. He knows the offense and understands everything.

"But I think he understands that we'd go into it with the understanding that if somebody got injured in the first two or three ball games we'd need him."

For a player that contributed in his first year to progressively slip down the depth chart through his sophomore, junior and soon to be senior season, it would be understandable to see him lose focus and drive.

That, according to Settle, is the furthest thing happening with Brown.

"I like where he is mentally," Settle said. "He kind of turned into a coach when he missed time and couldn't take reps. He was standing back there and psyching James up and doing some things. I think he understands what's at stake and if he redshirts what his role is going to be.

"I think he'd be good at it."

...More... To continue reading this article you must be a member. Sign Up Now!